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“We aren’t using Kinect to snoop,” says Harrison

Monday, 27th May 2013 02:10 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Microsoft Games Studios vice president Phil Harrison has said the platform holder has “very, very good” privacy policies and won’t use Xbox One’s admittedly creepy always-listening feature for any nefarious purposes.

“It doesn’t have to be jumping up off the couch and running around your living room – it can be quite subtle.”

“Microsoft has very, very good policies around privacy. We’re a leader in the world of privacy, I think you’ll find,” Harrison told Eurogamer.

“We take it very seriously. We aren’t using Kinect to snoop on anybody at all. We listen for the word ‘Xbox on’ and then switch on the machine, but we don’t transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that.”

Every Xbox One will come with a new Kinect sensor, which Harrison said is hugely improved from the hit-and-miss performance of the first generation of camera motion control tech.

“You have to look at the quality of hardware innovation that Microsoft has put together. The team they have assembled is world-class,” he said.

They have designed a modern piece of hardware, which has the capabilities of the chips in the box, plus the power of Kinect, plus the power of the cloud, working in harmony.”

The executive also noted that Microsoft won’t force developers to integrate Kinect into game, and hopes that future uses of the tech will be more appealing to gamers.

“It could be just as simple as a voice command, or it could be just as simple as knowing there’s more than one person in the room at the same time, and being able to automatically populate options and user interface – knowing there are two people playing or three people playing,” he said.

“Things that can be really subtle but really joyful to the player. It doesn’t have to be jumping up off the couch and running around your living room – it can be quite subtle.”

Xbox One will “absolutely” redeem Kinect in the eyes of core gamers, he added.

“I think that if you are at the leading edge of technology in the home then you will want the power of Skype working with your TV and with your game experience seamlessly, and being able to switch smoothly between them,” he said.

“Just being able to have the game snap to the screen and have a Skype call on the side doesn’t have to impact the game at all, but adds a degree of socialisation and social features to games that were never there before, so I think that’s going to be very credible and I hope very compelling.”

We’re still waiting for all the details on Xbox One, but we know it features game ownership locked to profiled rather than discs or hardware, which will enable some sort of used game trade system. We don’t know if all that TV magic will work outside the US, but Microsoft seems pretty serious about making inroads in Europe this generation rather than letting Sony continue to dominate its traditional stomping ground. Catch up on everything we do know in this massive Xbox One reveal über-report.

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74 Comments

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  1. machy

    talk is cheep

    #1 1 year ago
  2. livewired500

    We don’t believe you MS. When you have the capability, it is too easy to start using it.

    What is with the push on the Skype? That is the last thing that I am thinking about while I’m playing a game. I already get interrupted by the kids, wife, people coming to the door, phone calls, etc.

    But with Xbone you can have idiots call you to tell you that your mic isn’t on, though the reason we have it off is because we don’t want to talk to anyone.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. xBASSxMONSTAx

    lol, pull the other one Harrison. No one will take your word for it.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. POOP CRUSTY

    Wink wink.
    Won’t matter, I’ll be putting a band-aid over the camera when I’m not playing.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. RED360

    Relay This Plz.

    “We don’t believe you MS. When you have the capability, it is too easy to start using it.”
    As livewired500 above.

    It is hard to trust you at this point. With the silence when it comes to personal privacy(Trade secrets are not an excuse) and the Used game take over. Really? DRM? All your fan base are not criminals, but you will make us feel like we are and it makes your “Experiences” allot less fun.
    You will only hurt yourself in the end and it makes you appear Greedy and dishonest. Some times people may not want to be disturbed even from a electronic device. Have you never wanted to just silence your phone? I bet you would like to now. I know my self. I do always want to utilize the full “Experiences” you and your team have worked so hard on. An unplugged no restrictions Halo campaign and a simple controller will suffice, but I’m probably not your target age group. So allowing the ability to to unplug speaks volumes. Options we each like our own. I never liked PS so mine are slim if you allow me none.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Neroist

    “…we don’t transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that.” means that once you start up your X1 and set it up you will have to click the “I agree/accept” button for the ToS agreement.
    And if you read the fine print it will most likely say that M$ has the right to share your data info with their partner’s.
    So you can never bring them up for a law suit on the data that was transmitted. Their legal dept. will want that upfront before you can even use the system.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Clupula

    Because you’re really going to tell people when you’re doing that, Phil.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Clupula

    @6 – Exactly.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. salarta

    Oh boy, oh joy, Microsoft isn’t going to use the Kinect to snoop! I’M SURE THE AVERAGE CITIZEN WILL FOLLOW MICROSOFT POLICY AND ABSOLUTELY NEVER HACK THE KINECT. I mean, we’ve only seen reports of webcams hacked by perverts to spy on women, surely the Kinect carries no such risk because everyone is a good upstanding gentleman and/or lady, right?

    Also, I just realized that XBox One was made “for consumers” but by minds focused entirely on the concerns of a business. Skype is a stupid feature for someone in the middle of a game or trying to watch a film or TV show, but it’s technically a great feature for a business meeting over Skype about whatever content is on the screen. Shouting XBOX GO HOME instead of touching a button is unnecessary extra effort and could easily be used to dick with people while they’re trying to enjoy something, but in a business meeting it would make things easier for whoever is the one talking.

    XBox One basically sounds like a great business presentation platform that Microsoft is trying to foist onto consumers, with absolutely no consideration granted to how it would be used by real people in everyday life aside from TV TV TV SPORTS SPORTS SPOOOOOOOOOOOOORTS. Hell, the “water cooler” remark betrays this line of thinking. Do you have a water cooler in your living room? If you do then fuck you and also give me one too because that would be awesome. But really, water coolers are a stereotypical workplace environment socialization point, betraying that the idea is business-oriented thoughts about how socialization works. And don’t forget the patent for demanding a license for public showing if too many people are in the room, another business-obsessed construct that the average person normally doesn’t have to worry about.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. deraj

    I think he’s both telling the truth and lying. It probably works the same as your phone and email does with Echelon.. that is, Xbone listens for a list of keywords supplied by government. If a keyword is heard then the conversation is transmitted for a government analyst to review. If that review determines you to be “a Person Of Interest” then a more thorough profile is called for, including an access request to Microsoft to remotely activate Kinect on demand for future video and audio surveillance. If you want to nail them down on this, ask a more specific question eg. “Could Kinect be triggered remotely in any circumstances?”

    #10 1 year ago
  11. criticalmass

    LMAO! yea that’s why Microsoft was the #1 backer of the new CISPA bill passed in the US.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. Richenbaum

    microsoft owns skype and recently merged it with their windows messenger, that’s why the big push on skype.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Diingo

    >”We listen for the word ‘Xbox on’”
    >”We listen for the word”
    >”We listen”
    >”WE”

    Wtf??? What do they mean by “WE”???

    Instead shouldn’t they say Kinect listens?

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Diingo

    @10

    Government surveillance is getting out of hand. The NSA is hoarding everyone’s electronic communications onto their massive data centers… and most people are completely blindfolded from knowing. It’s scary to think that they use huge computers to filter through our words to pinpoint who is either for or against the system.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Kinectamaniac

    Um…yeah, I noticed the “we listen” too…rather than “the Xbox One listens”.

    I ain’t buying the Xbox One…screw that.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. xAKUM3TSUx

    @#1- At this point your words sum up my feelings. I really hope MS redeems themselves big time before my patience grows thin. I’ve already expressed to all my Xblive friends I may be a “Sony leech” nxt gen. All they’ve been doing is damage control lately and to be honest as the information passes it confuses me more and more. E3 better have some promises ahead cuz this stuff is killing me.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Neroist

    @14

    Funny you mention the NSA. M$ has an office in the NSA. They have to keep a working cooperation with the NSA due to the encryption laws of the US. Their encryption can only be so “strong”. That is why international companies use Open-source encryption because it comes from many authors and does not abide by US laws.

    Look up the phase _NSAKEY and most will find that M$ Windows 95 to NT have had a backdoor for the NSA to access those OSs giving them the ability to install apps unto the users OS. They have to have NSA clearance when making a new OS and marketing it in the US.

    Most people have no clue about what M$ can and will do behind your back.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Puggy

    So just to make sure, since english ain’t my first language.

    “….but we don’t transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that.””
    means that they will transmit data? Because if they would not, there would be no need for that side sentence and “We won’t transmit personal data.” would have been enough.

    I mean it is not that bad, I have nothing to hide really. Just don’t like the idea of someone being able to put me under constant monitoring that easily.
    Ah well, there is tape to blind the kinect camera and there are ways to make micros not work. Sounds like a lot of hassle for an “entertainment” console though. A bit like having a new partner and the first thing you have to do is go to the next SM shop, so you can blindfold and gag them. O.o

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Francis O

    X-Bone…..this is what all you guys were waiting for right? Paying for used games, better graphics, 1080p Kinect sensor, rehashed target rendered sports games, $60 a year for online play, DRM…..Next gen right?

    F*ck backwards compatibility, or used games, or options if you want to be connected or not to the internet.

    Sorry, but this machine fails, it fails plain and simple. I don’t care how much RAM, what features, or games this POS has. The PS4 and Wii U are 10x Better than this bullshit.

    Sony better not pull this used game crap either, or I’m going strictly PC, Wii U, and 3DS this gen.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. mkotechno

    Yea, because MS operating system are historically acclaimed for its secutity… I will 100% confy with HAL9000 watching me f***ing my girlfriend in the couch.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Mjorh

    I don’t think that they’re gonna watch millions of people ! does that make any sense ? they’re no FBI or sth , i mean …ah man this is lame as hell !

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Richenbaum

    @19 it must suck to know that even with all these issues it’ll still outsell the wii u though ;)

    #22 1 year ago
  23. Mjorh

    @22 You really care about sales n stuff?!
    COD sales like hell so what ? so its got the upperhand or sth by outselling best games ?
    I mean it ain’t a solid factor

    #23 1 year ago
  24. Richenbaum

    never said I cared about sales, but what I care about doesn’t really matter in relation to what I said to Francis anyway.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Mjorh

    C’mon it was at least sarcastic Richenbaum !:D!
    Btw gotcha .

    #25 1 year ago
  26. Richenbaum

    OH SNAP I IS GOT

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Francis O

    @24 You want to put some money on the Wii U outselling the X-Bone this holiday? Cause the X-Bone is not going to sell at all in Japan! And the Wii U is going to have huge titles that ALL REGIONS like to play.

    - New 3D Mario
    - Mario Kart
    - Pikmin 3
    - The Wonderful 101
    - The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD

    And far cheaper than the X-Bone. PLEASE, Wii U will crush the X Bone in sales this holiday. I’m willing to bet money on it if you like.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. Clupula

    @27 – I don’t think there’s any question the Wii U will probably outsell the Xbone in Japan, this holiday. Worldwide, though…I don’t know. I can see this selling a few million to the more gullible Xbots out there. The Wii U will see sales pick up, but the majority of sales, worldwide, are going to be PS4.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. Francis O

    The X-Bone is going to cost more than the Wii U, Have less software, restrict used games, always online DRM, and be a glorified TV box.

    The Wii U will easily outsell the X-Bone this holiday. And no the “Majority” of the sales will not be the PS4 this holiday. As we still don’t have a price or full launch line-up to come to that conclusion.

    At least with the Wii U, we know of killer apps and it will be cheaper than the competition.

    The 3DS will outsell all of these machines. So the 3DS will be getting the “Most” not “majority” of sales this holiday.

    Legend of Zelda Link to the Past 2
    Mario Party
    POKEMON X & Y

    If you really think the PS4 will outsell the 3DS this holiday…..man, you’re in for a big surprise. I personally know 30 people who are buying a 3DS just for Pokemon X & Y.

    Unless you were strictly speaking about consoles. But even then, I doubt the PS4 will have enough supply to outsell the Wii U.

    And like I said, we still don’t know the price.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. Mike

    These comments have gone full retard. The very notion if MS spying on you is ludicrous. I’m embarrassed for Phil Harrison that he has to answer such an outlandish question to satiate a few teenagers who wouldn’t buy the console if you paid them.

    Also, the Kinect integration is the most interesting part of what he said – it’s a bold claim about it catering for the core that could come back to bite him.

    i really don’t know how the staff on this site put up with, and converse with pre-pubescent console zealots.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. Mike

    Oh and Xbone was never and will never be funny. Christ.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. Clupula

    @31 – Maybe not to you, dickhead. But to the rest of us, that will FOREVER be the name of the system. Suck it and smile, kid.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. Clupula

    @29 – Who the fuck gives a shit about the 3DS or the Vita? Fuck portables. I don’t even speak about them. I think about them less than I even think about PC gaming.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. Richenbaum

    @27 OMG YES PLEASE LETS BET SOME MONEY ON IT AND THEN AFTER THAT WE CAN HAVE AN INTERNET FIST FIGHT! but seriously back to reality, I like how you avoided overall sales and went right to christmas only sales, but hey sure you know 30 people (are they on the internet too?) that are going to buy a 3ds. that’s some scientific evidence right there. just keep telling yourself that it’ll be fine. ha.

    #34 1 year ago
  35. mojo

    “We aren’t using Kinect to snoop,”
    then dont make it mandatory.
    what impression does that leave?!

    I dont believe you, Dave.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. FeaturePreacher

    Kinect will never appeal to hardcore gamers as long as it can’t see your fingers. When that happens it will mostly appeal to fans of RTS. Other genres will see light use of the device. Sony and MS better include a headset cause speaking through a camera is not going to work.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. Francis O

    @34 I HAVE TO GO TO X MAS you dope that’s when the X-Bone launches!

    Did you mean lifetime sales?

    Sales from a year from now?

    2 years down the line?

    The X-Bone is screwed in Japan, and many consumers here will be picking up PS4′s Wii U’s and 3DS’s

    #37 1 year ago
  38. Francis O

    @29 – Who the fuck gives a shit about the 3DS or the Vita?

    Ummm…Japan.

    And come this holiday…Pokemon X and Y is going to be the best selling game right along COD and Battlefield.

    So MILLIONS of people care about the 3DS.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. Mjorh

    @33 C’mon PC Gaming ain’t that bad , give it a shot man .

    @38 Those MILLIONS of people are buncha casual idiots!

    #39 1 year ago
  40. Richenbaum

    @37 you’re thinking of ps4. xbone still hasn’t given their release date. 360 sold perfectly well without Japan by the way. no not as high as original wii, but then that wasn’t an abysmal failure on launch like the wii u. anyway I bet you 1 billion USD that I’m right. just mail me a check bro.

    #40 1 year ago
  41. Clupula

    @38 – Well, then it’s good that there’s millions of sperm in the average ejaculation, because there will be one for each of them, because those millions of people who care about the 3DS can suck my dick.

    That’s the most asinine comparison you could have made. It’d be like we were having a conversation on which game would sell more, Gran Turismo or Forza, and you started saying that you think Coca Cola sells more than both of those games. One thing has very little to do with the others.

    #41 1 year ago
  42. Richenbaum

    @41 lol

    #42 1 year ago
  43. Clupula

    @39 – I don’t like having to spend ridiculous amounts of money on upgrading a rig, learning which cards do what, what memory I need here…whatever. I just prefer the console method. I buy a game. I put it in the system. It works. End of story. I don’t have to worry about specs or actually studying to get the best performance out of what I have. I don’t have time for that shit.

    #43 1 year ago
  44. Richenbaum

    @43 it’s nowhere near as complicated as you make it sound, but whatever works for you. *shrug*

    #44 1 year ago
  45. Mjorh

    @41 That was awesome .LOL!
    @43I’m sold !

    #45 1 year ago
  46. RED360

    @39 Not so true any more.

    #46 1 year ago
  47. Malmer

    The amount of bullshit in the comments on Xbox One related articles is astounding.

    #47 1 year ago
  48. Mjorh

    @48,So whats ur definition of “Bullshit” ?

    #48 1 year ago
  49. Clupula

    @49 – Anything that speaks badly of Microsoft.

    #49 1 year ago
  50. Malmer

    @50 MS deserves its share of critisism, but it’s getting absurd now.

    #50 1 year ago
  51. Bomba Luigi

    Look Phil, its pretty Easy: Make the Console work without Kinect being Conectet to it. Then all the Problem in this Case are gone.

    Can’t be hard to do that. Yeah, you probably loosing a lot of Cool Features and whatever, but leave the choice to the Customer. The more “deal with it” Features you have, the more People will not buy it.
    Options are such a Great thing, People love that Shit.

    #51 1 year ago
  52. Clupula

    @51 – You’re right. Microsoft’s behavior IS absurd.

    Which is why it’s good that they’re being rightly called out on it.

    #52 1 year ago
  53. pleasant_cabbage

    I can’t wait for xbone to launch, I’m gonna make a fortune!
    *buys shares in tinfoil*

    #53 1 year ago
  54. Kieran

    if you live in Ireland or u.k then everyone will undoubtedly remember the news of the world phone hacking scandal !! long story short if microsoft are snooping and get caught there gonna be F*****

    #54 1 year ago
  55. DSB

    I’ve been laughing so hard at all the nonsense coming from Harrison. Easily the best part of the console frenzy so far.

    It’s like the launch of the PS3 all over again, although the soundbites are somewhat less flamboyantly asinine this time.

    I mean, fair enough if the guy has talent behind the scenes, but you should REALLY know better than to put him in front of a fucking microphone by now.

    He’s Bobby Koticks clueless idiot cousin.

    #55 1 year ago
  56. Clupula

    @57 – It’s his accent. Most Americans hear it and think he must be smart.

    #56 1 year ago
  57. DSB

    “Oh Phil Harrison, we’re being way too clear and accurate about our new console, please come fuck up our message for us like you did with the PS3″.

    De ja poo, man! Same shit, different console.

    #57 1 year ago
  58. Neroist

    http://www.gameskinny.com/6akyl/the-alarming-nature-of-the-xbox-ones-kinect-requirement-and-usage This is the kind of reporting that more need to see.
    Once you allow data ( and I mean your emotional reactions to things)to be collected and sent off to unknown parties and think that is ok. This kinda of thing could get out of hand.
    It will start off small but get the ball rolling with time… think about it.

    #58 1 year ago
  59. monkeygourmet

    @61

    This…

    #59 1 year ago
  60. MadFlavour

    Oh you aren’t? That’s OK then I’ll just happily take this always on camera into my home then. Because it’s not like if you were using it to snoop you would be lie about it.

    FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING TELESCREEN.

    Do not invite this vampire shit into your home people.

    #60 1 year ago
  61. ps3fanboy

    DON’T BE FOOLED THEY ARE LYING!!

    #61 1 year ago
  62. Lengendaryboss

    @Francis
    Don’t you get bored of defending Nintendo whose systems have poor third party support, we all know how Pokemon X+Y is going to sell (I Wonder if i should buy a 3DS for it, christmas present maybe) stop spouting all things Nintendo as they will become irrelevant once we transition into the true Next Generation with Xbone and PS4, whether we like it or not is to be decided.

    #62 1 year ago
  63. sh4dow

    They can stuff it.

    #63 1 year ago
  64. deraj

    @54 Funny that you mention tin-foil.. Kinect 2 can see in infra-red so putting a cloth over the lens won’t hide you.. tin-foil might do the trick.

    #64 1 year ago
  65. reask

    Maybe they will have achievements for who cooks the best dinner on your street.
    Or best dad, or cruelest parents, hell even best lover. :)

    #65 1 year ago
  66. livewired500

    Maybe Xbone is part of the new MSFT backed Common Core Standards for education in the US which is supposed to start data mining our kids starting next year. Xbone will start data mining people in the home.

    #66 1 year ago
  67. reask

    Seems to be cleared up here.

    “You’ll be able to put the system in modes where you can be completely secure about the fact that the camera is off and can’t see you.”
    Link below.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57585620-75/microsoft-talks-xbox-one-naming-privacy-and-more-q-a/

    #67 1 year ago
  68. silverstorm

    This whole always on thing reminds of the simpsons episode with the pierce brosnan computer which takes over the whole house haha

    #68 1 year ago
  69. reask

    Wheres the mods?
    Spam merchants on overtime today.

    #69 1 year ago
  70. Lengendaryboss

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRJH6A-DFg4

    #70 1 year ago
  71. manamana

    They are definitely getting cracked. It’s a superb target for crackers with worldwide reputation to be gained. No way I’m gonna let a camera and microphone into my livingroom.

    But then … what’s with my iPhone and iPad looking at me?!

    Who’s watching me? ;-)

    #71 1 year ago
  72. Lengendaryboss

    @Reask
    Bank Holiday? But that doesn’t seem to be an excuse with the news still happening.

    #72 1 year ago
  73. fuchikoma

    @67: No worries there. Kinect 1 can also see IR. Near IR is different from far IR though – it’s just light. If they used a camera that could see radiated heat, it’d probably cost at least $8000.

    Anyway, you don’t get to explain away always-on mics and mandatory cameras by calling yourselves leaders in privacy… That’s like “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” – not democratic, not for the people.

    Whether or not the data is misused, or even collected, it’s already invasive to force users to point this monitoring equipment at themselves to use the device. You can’t just peer into someone’s window and say “don’t worry – I won’t tell anyone what I see!” Oh – yeah… In that case it’s fine! You’re not a creep; you’re just watching me to provide better service!

    #73 1 year ago
  74. ignoreLander

    This won’t “absolutely” redeem Kinect in the eyes of this core gamer, as not only will I not buy one, if I was given one for free, I would not allow it into my house.

    Nice try, though….Love the spin

    #74 1 year ago